Domestic Violence and Abuse
Domestic Violence (also called Domestic Abuse) is a crime and a major social problem affecting many families. In 90% of reported domestic violence incidents, children have either been present in the same or a nearby room.
Domestic violence is a crime. Never hesitate to call the police who have specialist domestic violence officers trained to help children and put you in touch with other agencies who can help you with safety planning, housing issues, drug or alcohol problems or give details of solicitors who can assist you with the legal side of things.
IN IMMEDIATE DANGER?
Call 999 now
NEED TO TALK?
Call 0808 2000 247
» Women’s Aid
If you are female and feel reluctant to speak to the police, we recommend you call Women’s Aid who is an independent charity run by women to help other women. You can speak to them in the strictest confidence about your problems and they can offer you practical and emotional support or help you find emergency refuge accommodation if you are escaping abuse.
Women’s Aid can be contacted on 0808 2000 247
(Free phone 24 hour National Domestic Violence Helpline)
Need to cover your tracks online?
If you are getting advice online, you may want to make sure that no-one can find out what websites you have visited.
If you are worried that someone is monitoring your internet usage, your safest choice is to use the internet from another place such as a friend’s house, your work, an internet café or local library.
Keeping your email private
Find out what you can do to stop someone else reading your emails.
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, you should print them off and save them as evidence of abusive behaviour.
What is Domestic Violence?
The Government in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, defines domestic violence as ‘any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are, or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexual orientation’. These can mean:
- Putting the person down or making the victim feel bad about themselves
- Playing mind-games and making the person feel they are stupid or going mad
- Enforced isolation from family or friends
- Trying to keep the person from getting a job
- Making the person ask for money or withholding money
- Actual or threatened physical harm
- Making another person do sexual things against their will
- Making someone afraid by smashing things and destroying things
- Making or carrying out threats to hurt someone emotionally – threatening to take the children, run away or commit suicide.
Effects upon children?
Children are affected in many ways by abuse, even after a short time. These effects include:
- Feeling frightened,
- Becoming withdrawn,
- Running away,
- Behavioural difficulties,
- Problems with school,
- Poor concentration,
- Emotional turmoil.
The longer children are exposed to abuse, the more severe the effects on them are. These can include:
- A lack of respect for the non-violent parent
- Loss of self-confidence, which will affect their ability to form relationships in the future
- Being over-protective of a parent
- Loss of childhood
- Problems at school
- Running away
How does it affect children?
Domestic violence may teach children to use violence
Violence can affect children in serious and long-lasting ways
Where there is domestic violence there is often child abuse
Children will often blame themselves for domestic violence
Alcohol misuse is very common contributing factor when violence occurs in families
Pregnant women are more vulnerable to domestic violence.
Children who witness, intervene or hear incidents are affected in many ways. What can be guaranteed is that children do hear, they do see and they are aware of abuse in the family. Children will learn how to behave from examples parents set for them. Domestic violence teaches children negative things about relationships and how to deal with people. For instance:
- It can teach them that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict
- They learn how to keep secrets
- They learn to mistrust those close to them and that children are responsible and to blame for violence, especially if violence erupts after an argument about the children.
Many people find it difficult to understand why people remain in or return to abusive violent situations. A combination of fear, love, the risk of homelessness and financial issues can make it very difficult for partners with children to leave and some may not want to.
What can I do?
Confidential Advice & Support
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you can get confidential advice and support from:
Stratford Advice Arcade (Every Monday, 9.30am – 12.30pm)
107-109 The Grove
You can phone
In case of emergency, please dial 999
Aanchal Asian Women’s Aid Helpline: 0845 451 2547
Newham Police Community Safety Unit on: 101
East London Rape Crisis Service: 0800 160 1036
Rape Crisis London: 020 8683 3311
National Domestic Violence Helpline: 0808 2000 247
(24 hour freephone)
NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000,
Parentline: 0808 800 2222
Childline: 0800 1111